Lost Valley Trail

Despite my lack of hiking for over a month, this weekend I thought I'd push myself to do a 9-mile hike at Lost Valley Trail, which is around the Weldon Springs/Defiance area on Route 94, same area as a ton of other trails including the Lewis and Clark. Very different than Lewis and Clark trail though, despite the trail head being only a couple miles down the road from it, albeit on the other side-- no rocky outcrops overlooking the river, but lots of crossings over the Little Femme Osage Creek and valleys and forests and fields and marshland.

Had to battle allergies. I've had chronic allergies since grade school, but only in the last two years or so really started aggressively fighting them with shots that started every week, and now I'm down to one shot a month. I feel like they came out of nowhere this year though, and haven't actually managed to go restock on some medicine. Sunday was also uncharacteristically hot, about 80 degrees, so I wasn't getting the beautifully cool day I'd been looking for, but at least for a good deal of the hike, there was a nice breeze.

I seemed to be one of the few hikers on this trail, but it was very busy with mountain bikers. The trail is marked as being for both, though, so I didn't really feel I was often in the way. I bet this trail is often busy though, because even though it was Easter Sunday, I had a lot of biking company. Despite this, there were looong stretches of the trail where I was completely and utterly alone, so I surprisingly didn't feel overcrowded. One of my main issues with the trail is farther along, you can constantly hear gunshots from a nearby firing range which kind of takes away from the peace and quiet I was seeking. Otherwise the trail was well marked most of the time, as well as marked with mileage which is always something I appreciate. There was also a lot of debris along the trail in the form of mostly rotting metal. Kind of interesting to see random things at various stages of rust and decay, but also kind of strange. Really cool parts though included an old chimney, an old metal shelter just off the road, as well as a small section of trail where the daffodils absolutely overwhelmed the surround trees. I also saw my first snake-- not sure what kind, mostly black with a whitish yellow underbelly (have a picture).

I loved the scenery. It was very peaceful, and while not having as many wow moments as something like hte Lewis & Clark trail, there was also a variety of landscapes to enjoy so it was harder to be bored. Sometimes you would be walking through the woods, sometimes crossing over creeks, sometimes wandering down old gravel roads that at times were overgrown with grass, as well as crossing large open fields, with a variety of flowers and trees (that were only just started to bud). I got really, really tired though between mile 5 and 6, really feeling the soreness in my legs. I found a spot where I could hop offtrail and sit on the bank of the creek, where I took off my shoes and soaked my feet for a bit in the water. The water was still freezing, but it was super refreshing. There also didn't seem to be a lot of good stops to stop and rest or eat, and often I just sat down on the side of the gravel road. I also didn't pack enough water for this hike, so I need to rethink that. Great hike, even though it tired me out, and I loved the location. 

My next goal: buy some hiking pants as soon as humanely possibly. Hiking in jeans in even slightly warm weather is overheating and very uncomfortable. I think I will make a stop by REI. I just don't want to spend a million dollars on them, but I think the change will be significant.

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